The Monarchs won the Central District last season going 9-2 but fell to Varina in the first round of the playoffs 30-29 on a last second field goal.
Meadowbrook will be young and inexperienced this season, returning just 7 of 22 starters from last season. Despite the lack of game experience, Taylor is excited about the group of kids this season.
“The guys are ready to go,” said head coach, Troy Taylor. “It’s great to see a bunch of guys that are excited to step up and receive playing time.”
Meadowbrook will need a host of players to step up and perform at a high level to duplicate the success of last season, but as always, the prototypical speed and athleticism will be there.
The Monarchs will kick their season off with a big game by hosting Hermitage on Thursday, August 29 at 6 p,m.
Quarterback: Senior K.C. Conway (5-10, 170 pounds) and sophomore Talik Mann (6-2, 180 pounds) are currently locked in a battle for the starting quarterback role to replace Gerard Johnson, one of the most prolific players in Meadowbrook history. Johnson is currently in competition for time at running back at Old Dominion University.
Running back: Justin Miller, a 5-9 175 pound junior will replace 1,100 yard rusher Brandon McShine, who is at UVA Wise. Miller is a solid, compact running back that runs downhill with good speed. Meadowbrook traditionally a run-heavy offense, so Miller will step into a predominant role and is expected to produce.
Wide Receiver/Tight End: Meadowbrook returns just two starters overall on offense, including senior Terelle Whitaker, who gained over 900 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. Whitaker was a playmaker for the Monarchs in 2012 and will be a valuable weapon again with his speed, hands and ball skills. Taylor called Whitaker “one of the best wide receivers I’ve ever coached.” Junior D’Angelo Amos will start opposite Whitaker. Tight end Jeff Lee also figures to get looks in the passing game.
Offensive Line: Alongside Tyler, seniors Chris Artis, Dashawn Chambliss and Marion Short will lead the o-line in 2013. Meadowbrook sent two All-District performers to play at the next level in Lavonte Heights (Shepard) and Caleb Wright (North Carolina Wesleyan).
Defensive Line: Meadowbrook’s defensive line, now coached by former Bird assistant Matt Bland is expected to be a strength of the team. Anchored by Tyler, Landon Williams also returns as a starter in the defensive trenches.
Linebackers: The Monarchs will have an experienced linebacker core with Marquie Phillips, Kane Smith and Rasheed Johnson- all who played varsity last season. Phillips, though traditionally undersized at 5-9 170 pound is tough and physical with a nose for the ball. Smith, a member of the International Baccalaurate program is considered by Taylor to be his “coach on the field.”
Defensive Backs: Meadowbrook’s defensive backfield lost two standouts in junior Daijaune Dorsey and senior Earl Hughes, who now attend L.C. Bird. Cornerback Khylil James and safety Rudy Edouzin return from a unit that played very well last season.
ON THE RADAR
Cornelius Tyler, Senior
6 foot 3 inches 265 pounds
Defensive End/Offensive Tackle
Colleges interested: James Madison, Liberty, Hampton, Norfolk State, William and Mary, Virginia Tech
Tyler has been a key contributor to the Meadowbrook program over the past three seasons, earning a starting job midway through his freshman year on the defensive line. Since then, he’s been an anchor on both the team’s offensive and defensive lines.
“Too Tall.” as called by his teammates, has taken on a vocal leadership role this off-season with one of the younger Meadowbrook teams that head coach Troy Taylor has had over the past few years. Tyler’s leadership will be an essential piece to the team’s success in 2013.
“He’s [Tyler] taken on a great leadership role this summer with the younger guys,” said Taylor.
On the field, Tyler is lauded for his quickness off the ball and outstanding footwork. This year, he will continue to play on both sides of the ball, serving primarily as an offensive and defensive tackle.